“Gluten-free.” It’s the phrase of the day and you are seeing it everywhere. But, what is it? Specifically? See the below Jimmy Kimmel man-on-the-street interview asking people to define gluten:
As a lifetime dieter, I have seen the low-cal, low-carb, and low-fat crazes come and go. Every year, another answer. Preying on our desire for the quickest and most successful fix, the diet and weight loss industry have been riding a very lucrative gravy train, as it were, for quite some time. I have seen the grocery store shelves covered with labels touting a products new reformulation to surf the wave of whatever the current trend is. I have also seen those crazes being refuted by the same medical community that insisted it was a thing in the first place. We’ve flip-flopped our position on eggs and butter so many times, we’ve stopped counting. Which is why I wasn’t surprised when the following article popped up on my news feed: Gluten Sensitivity is Apparently Bullshit.
Please don’t misunderstand–Celiac Disease is a very real, very serious thing. And there are many people who are allergic and sensitive to specific components of wheat. Josh’s dad, for example, is severely allergic to a still unknown component of wheat. The article (check out the full version here) reveals that the doctor who started the gluten-buzz continued to study it after his initial findings were published, and concluded that (unless you have Celiac Disease) gluten maybe, (probably) wasn’t your problem. (After watching the latest iteration of Cosmos, I respect scientists who acknowledge their contradictory findings. Science is so cool!) Not to say that SOMETHING in wheat isn’t causing you problems… but it probably isn’t gluten.
So, what is Gluten? Get ready for some science. Gluten is a composite of two proteins found in wheat. It is the chemistry that causes dough to rise, snap back, and be chewy. Full definition: here. Unfortunately, according to the study, “gluten sensitivity” has become such a misnomer and blanket diagnosis (often self-diagnosed) for a range of various gastric distresses that have nothing to do with gluten. For example, a frightening protein in wheat that has been selectively bread to have anti-pest properties. Again, read the article.
So, why is everyone hopping on this bandwagon? In the super-silly movie “This Is the End,” Seth Rogen (when asked to define “gluten”) posits, “Gluten is a vague term… used to categorize things that are bad.” For most people, whole grains are great for your diet. Processed foods made with refined wheat flour, however, are not. So, are eating pasta and white bread good for your diet? You know the answer. Should those seeking to lose weight eat less of these things? Probably! In fact, eating gluten-free foods can actually be worse for you. Often when products are reformulated to be gluten-free, they replace the wheat with extra fat and sugar. Good grief?!
We already know the key to weight loss- balanced meals and exercise. Key word being “balanced.” If all these fads have taught is nothing, it’s that cutting out one specific component of food is rarely the answer and generally winds up being a problem later on due to overcompensation of something else. And when is balance NOT the key to happiness? Listen to your body, not the diet and weight loss industry. These are the same people who, at one point, advocated tape worms. Eat mindfully on as much non-processed food as you can afford. Get checked out if you think you might have an issue. 1 in 133 of you just might need to go gluten-free. And now that you know, it’s a piece of cake, huh?
What do you think? Did you actually know what gluten was? Do you know someone with Celiac Disease? What is the craziest fad diet you’ve ever tried? As always, let us know!